Informational Guide

How to Stop Rats Climbing Drain Pipes

Learn how to effectively stop them getting into drain pipes and toilets with our complete guide.

by Dmitri Kara

Dealing with rats can be the worst nightmare that happens to you. They are huge, horrific, dirty, spread diseases, and can reproduce rapidly.

They can enter your property from anywhere, especially through cracks and holes in the walls, or from under your flooring. But if the entry points are sealed and there are no openings, and you still struggle from rats infestation, you should check for another possible means of access.

Believe it or not, your drainage is one. Or you’ve already spotted a rat in the toilet?

In this article, Plumbing Lab discusses some useful methods on how to stop rats climbing drain pipes. We try to answer the most important questions that may come to mind.

Probably, you already know that rats can climb up pipes.

Truth is, these critters are actually fantastic climbers which helped them spread in urban piping all over the world. Besides plumbing, rats are able to go up trees, vertical walls and can infest drainage, cables, gutters, and wires in no time.

Most of the rat species are capable of climbing, but some of them surpass the rest. For example, the black rat (rattus rattus) also known as the roof rat, and Norway rats (rattus norvegicus) are among the most fantastic and skilful climbers.


Why Are Rats Great Climbers?

Thanks to well-developed anatomy, rats can climb literally anywhere. These rodents are equipped with pads and claws meant to attach on any surface. Also, paws have “fingers” that allow a solid grip that holds on tight! Not only that, but their long tails make wonders with stability and balance.

Rodents such as rats can reach up to 90 cm (3 feet) vertically just with one jump, and 120 cm (4 feet) horizontally. So they can get on the roof with no hassle. Rats can also fall from around 15 metres in height and survive.

Another fascinating ability, along with mentioned above, is that rats can survive underwater for a long, long time. As a matter of fact, rats are superb swimmers, meaning they are likely to crawl up through your drains and be found in your toilet bowl.

How Do Rats Get into Drains?

Rats usually infest the property through the drains, especially if there are no other entry points.

Like it or not, rats in the drain systems are a common case in highly-populated urban areas. The main reason is that most local authorities no longer protect the sewage against rodents which leads to an excessive rat infestation.

Moreover, past the years the pipe systems are less maintained and nowadays are worn out, damaged and full with cracks due to the water and waste flows that go through.

Rats are able to penetrate entries as big as their skull which means they can easily pass through any gap.

But why do they find the drainage so attractive? Well, rodents such as rats prefer being as close as possible to the water. So, sewer and drainage are the perfect sources to inhabit.

So far, you can understand rats can surprise you during your morning routine in the bathroom. Anyway, you should stop rats climbing in the drain systems immediately. But how?

How to Stop Rats Climbing Drain Pipes?

According to Jordan Foster, a Fantastic rat control specialist with over 5 years of specialized experience in rats and vermits, to help us clarify the most common and effective ways on how to stop rats coming up the toilet and not getting into your drain system at all.

If you are in a rental property, you will be pleased to know that taking care of such menace is part of the landlord checklist of responsibilities and it is he or she who should take reasonable action to rid your (the tenant's) home of rats! However, if the renter is accountable for an infestation, you may have to deal with the issue yourself. Here’s how.

1. Rodent Barriers

There are several types of appliances you can use but here are the two most effective ones:

  • Install extended sections of the vertical discharge pipe. This way you will take precautions and prevent rats from climbing up.
  • Apply inner finned pipes in the drainage stack.

2. Covers & Gratings

Jimmy Morton, managing director and owner of Morton Plumbing, suggests another effective way to protect your drainage - place plastic drainpipe covers or metal grids. They will work well as they can provide access to the waste but will block the entrance of rats.

3. Cages

Cages, similarly to the covers, play the role of blockage against rats. They are usually installed in the ventilation pipes connected to the discharge stack.

4. Drain Blocker Rat Flap

Another sufficient approach is installing a one-way valve. It’s a special rat blocker for drains which let the water and wastage pass through but has a valve that cannot open the opposite side which cuts off the way to the rats and they are not able to climb the drain.

The rat flap blocker can be installed in the main drain system between your property and the sewage. It’s suitable for drainage systems made of PVC, clay or iron materials. It can be applied in balconies where outlet pipes connect into one main drainage.

5. Sealed Drainage

Make sure there are no cracks and holes in the drainage pipework connecting the vertical discharge pipe of your property and the sewer. Anyway, it requires constant access for inspection and clearance of any blockages.

6. Diverter leaf collector

Rats usually climb the gutters to reach the roof. For that reason, you shouldn’t forget to protect them, as well. Effective equipment is to place a diverter leaf collector. It will be useful against rats and prevent gutter blockage.

7. Flush

A simple and temporary solution for those of you who popped into a rat in the toilet bowl is flushing, then closing the lid. This will send the rat back to the sewer system but it doesn’t mean the vermin won’t come back. However, it will save you some time to take further actions.

You can also try pouring bleach which might suffocate the pest for a couple of minutes. Anyway, don’t count on that and search for much more effective ways to deal with the rat.

You have to call a plumber or pest controller in order to take out the rodent from the drainage as it can clog it and lead to more complications.

8. Pest Control

Some pest control services deal with the rats in the drain with a snore. The specialist will put the loop on the rat’s neck and take it out from the toilet. This is a dangerous method as if the trap catches the rodent's paw or didn’t catch it at all, the rat can become angry or scared and bite you. For that reason, we don’t recommend doing it by yourself, instead leave it to the professionals.

9. Other Solutions

  • Shotgun;
  • Poisons;
  • Use fire sprinklers;

These cannot guarantee that you will kill the rat and are very dangerous that you can end up injured rather than protect your property.

sick rat

Stopping Rats Climb Pipes - Final Words

So, now you know that rats are amazing climbers, and you shouldn’t be surprised how they got to the roof. Another fact is rats can swim and even survive underwater for a decent time. And when you come into a rat at home, but you’ve just covered all openings, you will know that the toilet lid wasn’t closed.

Whatever you try, it’s always better to call a professional plumber or pest control specialist as long as you beware the signs of plumbing scams! You may successfully deal with one rat, but are you sure there aren't more where they came from?

Started as a jack of all trades back in early 2012, Dmitri Kara is currently a recognized expert in a wide range of domestic and commercial trades. Dmitri has appeared for quite a few reputable outlets such as,,,,,, and many more. You can follow him on Twitter here.